First film about Harriet Tubman premieres at TIFF

This is long overdue.

On Tuesday, Harriet premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

What We Know:

  • Harriet is the first feature film about famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

  • Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 at the age of 27. She is remembered as a fearless hero who risked her life to return to the South and lead others to freedom.

  • The biopic is described as “the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transform into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.”

  • The film is directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) and stars Cynthia Erivo in the titular role. Erivo is a decorated performer. In 2016, she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Celie Harris in The Color Purple.

  • Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. and Joe Alwyn also appear in the film.

  • Early reviews of the film suggest that it is lackluster but many critics are impressed with Erivo’s portrayal of Tubman. Eric Kohn of Indiewire wrote, “As a sentimental tribute, it hardly transcends expectations — but Erivo’s performance injects a palpable urgency to the material that makes up for missed time.”
  • Owen Gleiberman of Variety stated, “Harriet is a conscientiously uplifting, devoted, rock-solid version of her story. Yet when it comes to putting the audience in touch with what’s extraordinary about Harriet Tubman — not just illustrating what she did but letting us connect with that quest, and with her, on a moment-to-moment level — Harriet is a conventional and rather prosaic piece of filmmaking.”
  • The film is currently rated 6.4/10 on IMDb and 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie will hit theaters on November 1st.

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Digital News Intern, UnmutedCo. Black News Alerts University of North Carolina at Charlotte B.A. Communication Studies/Journalism 2021

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